Thursday night, for their devotion to community service, local improvements and empowering others.
was her Albany selection.
"Peggy McQuaid is known for ," Skinner told hundreds who came together at El Cerrito's Mira Vista Golf & Country Club for the event. "If you live in or near Albany, you know Peggy, right? Absolutely."
Skinner lauded McQuaid, a , for her participation with the , the , the and , the , the , the , the "and more."
She also recognized McQuaid for "leading the effort to raise the money for the community pool," then continued, "but Peggy considers her most important accomplishment the health, happiness and wellbeing of her daughter, Joanne, who is now 46 and part of the new generation of severely disabled middle-aged adults."
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Women of the Year event began in California in 1987 when two assemblymembers, Bev Hansen and Sally Tanner, noticed that the state legislature had no events planned during Women's History Month in March.
Skinner expanded on their idea to honor women and women's organizations in the 14th District who have served their communities.
The district includes Albany, Berkeley, Canyon, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Kensington, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Richmond and San Pablo.
Journalist Belva Davis was the evening's keynote speaker.
Davis, who broke into the Bay Area media world as the first black woman on both radio and broadcast news, described how she learned about the power of volunteering and "the power of one."
"You don't do it unless you try, and you don't get anything unless you ask," she said. "If you don't have the power, find somebody who does, and get them to believe you're right."
Davis lived for a time with her family in El Cerrito, and described the painful decision of leaving the city when police told her that someone had threatened to kidnap her daughter in retaliation following the Patty Hearst kidnapping in 1974.
Despite overcoming a range of obstacles, from the lack of a college degree to gender and racial barriers, as she pursued her dream of journalism, Davis said she was happy with the experiences of her life.
"My dreams never went as far as the realities I've lived," she said, in closing.
After Skinner spoke about each woman to receive an award, she urged those in attendance to take with them the message of empowerment.
"Every woman in this room, you can do what you dream ... you want to do," she said. "Go for it. Get the other women around you to go for it. And let me know what I can do to help."
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